We often root for the underdog, the David overcoming the Goliath, it’s even easier when the Goliath is being unscrupulous, and when David has a little help for himself. In 1988, a taut thriller about corrupt undertakings, justice and defending your home was adapted from its bookish origins to the big screens, along with some familiar personalities in Taffin.
Local debt collector, Mark Taffin is attuned to getting money, operating out of a quaint village, Ballymoran, in Ireland. Mostly dealing with minor scuffles, and occasionally picking up a barmaid to be his girlfriend. However, the village stands between a corrupt commercial cabal and making a lot of money in land value. Said cabal hires goons to harass the villagers, and they turn to Taffin to fight back, as he helps the village engage in a grassroots guerilla warfare campaign. Will the price of the land will be paid for in blood?
Taffin is based on a book by, one which I haven’t had the pleasure of reading. Complete with the protagonist being portrayed by Pierce Brosnan, just around the conclusion of Remington Steele, displaying the attributes that make him so confidently a leading man. He’s quick-witted in both his communicative abilities and how to dispatch multiple foes who stand in his way, although Brosnan is far more photogenic than the book’s depictions. You also have the pleasure of seeing former Bond Girl and soon to be Indiana Jones star, Alison Doody, operate alongside the future James Bond in one of her earliest roles. If the timing had worked out differently, they would have been working on the same Bond film and as such, it is a delight to see them together. Especially alongside Ray McAnally, a mainstay of notable British dramas of the period, and no stranger to political intrigue or spy machinations.
With its delightful score by Hans Zimmer and, pretty as a postcard views of the quaint-yet contemporary village life in Ireland, Taffin offers a unique yet useful location for its adventure. You wouldn’t think that such a quiet place would need the services of a professional Debt Collector. Still, it makes a change from the typical locals that these films often are set in and does a lot to help bring out the compelling characteristics of the film’s plot.
While certainly a competent thriller, Taffin’s early parts could have also been reshaped into a fascinating series, about his adventures helping the community à la The A-Team or even Remington Steele. Yet it’s a standalone affair, about a debt collector teaching a village to fend for itself is entertaining enough to warrant a watch, and wonder why this intriguing premise didn’t lend itself to a franchise. Taffin is a fun blend of action and thriller, with some recognisable faces both in front of and behind the screen, and a lot of scenic Ireland to mix up the usual locals of conventional action films. Taffin is one film that should encourage you to pick up its tab.
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